By Nohad Mouawad
I have a confession to make: I have paid for more than a few gym memberships, and then quit going to the gym after a few months. It’s such a cliché isn’t it? You say “New Year, New Me,” you vow to get fit and you sign up to your nearest gym or fitness program, but after a few weeks or months you get bored. Trust me, I have done the same thing countless times. Over the years, I’ve realized: who needs the gym? Instead of being tied down to one gym or exercise routine, follow these simple tips to stay in shape and healthy:
- Make Small Changes: Every time we want to get back to exercising or vow to get healthy, it always seems like an insurmountable task or a huge mountain to climb. Instead of thinking of it that way, make small changes over time. This year, for the 6th year in a row, the Dubai 30 x 30 challenge is asking everyone in Dubai to make time for 30 minutes of movement over 30 days, and not necessarily in a gym. All around Dubai, different fitness villages and free activities have been set up (since October 27th) inviting adults and kids to get moving and get healthy, including Last Exit Al Khawaneej Fitness Village. The best part about the village is you can choose from 5 different exercise zones, including a ladies-only fitness studio, while your kids try everything from martial arts to yoga, Zumba and a bootcamp. After everyone has gotten their 30 minutes of exercise in, you can easily grab a healthy meal from the food trucks at the village. That’s my kind of excuse to exercise!
- Drink More Water: Okay so this sounds really obvious, but living in a hot climate, we have to remember to get some water into our system, in between all those coffees and teas. My favorite tip is to get a really cute water bottle that you like. Order it on Amazon and make sure you fill it up with at least 1 liter of water at a time. Keep it by your desk at work or in your car and keep drinking! You’ll feel huge changes in your skin, energy levels and overall wellbeing by the end of the month. If you don’t love the taste of water, add a couple of strawberries or some mint sprigs and lemon slices and it will taste just as good as a soft drink.
- Change the Setting: Exercising might not sound like fun to you, but I bet a sunset Zumba class on the beach might. The improving weather in Dubai makes it the best time right now to explore some of Dubai’s best outdoor spots for exercise. If you want a huge range of classes and even a place to schedule a cricket game, the Kite Beach Fitness Village will have 15 different fitness zones and classes from 7 am to 11 pm every weekday, including aerobics, boxing, football and yoga, and even watersports like rowing.
- Make It A Habit: Do you have the idea that sweating it out for hours at a time is the only way to be fit? Do you count every step and calorie on your smart watch and only feel motivated when you burn hundreds of calories a day? Well, this may not be the most sustainable fitness program. Studies show that long-term fitness starts with regular habits that fit into your lifestyle. That’s why the Dubai 30 x 30 challenge is the perfect time to start with just a few minutes of fitness a day. Besides all the fun activities spread out across the city, what about using the stairs for a few floors at home or the office? What about parking your car a little further away from the mall entrance, or simply doing a mall walk for 30 minutes?
- Make it a Family Affair: If you’re making memories with the kids and keeping them entertained, it will be a lot easier to get a workout in. At the fitness village at Dubai Design District, or D3, you can spend a full family day by the waterfront, using their skate park, basketball and volleyball courts, climbing wall and urban beach. This is perfect if you have kids who just want to skate or play sports with their friends, without an organized class. You can join your family for a game of b-ball or just relax by the beach.
- Don’t Think of it as Exercise: Get creative with your workout! From circus school to roller skating, there are so many types of classes and activities that will make you excited to exercise. In fact these classes don’t feel or seem like a workout at all! If you’re adventurous enough, you can even join your kids at Town Square Skate Park to try some skateboarding or rollerblading and show them that you’re still young at heart and body. For your kids, a team sport like football won’t feel like exercise, as they’ll think of it as social time with their friends. The newly opened FootTown is a great place to drop them off to while you are doing your own fun class.
- Buy Your Own Gear: Sure the gym is full of equipment, but having just a few simple pieces at home, like dumbells, an elastic or even a hula hoop at home means that you can do a quick workout while watching your favorite Netflix show, or even on your lunch break- if you work remotely. ActiveMile online store is offering a special discount code through Qidz for 15% off your exercise gear.
These are all easy and fun things to do that erase all those excuses you usually have! Try at least one thing each day during Dubai 30 x 30, and make your kids hold you accountable.
Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/young-adult-mom-little-daughter-together-aerobics_7531527.htm#query=family%20exercise&position=13&from_view=search&track=sph”>Image by teksomolika</a> on Freepik